This follows the price breakthroughs with AFMs, teraflop supercomputers (Nvidia), CAD CAM interface ease of use for AFMs, 10,000 times faster AFMs with heated tips and various nanopatterning and structuring methods (1 nm-100nm ranges).
Landmark performance was achieved using both TEM (transmission electron microscope) and STEM (scanning transmission electron microscope) imaging -- two methods used by researchers to directly view the basic building blocks of all matter.
The microscope and the higher resolution methods that it uses could be an enabling capability for diamondoid mechanosynthesis.
One-half Angstrom is one one-billionth of five centimeters. To put that in perspective, the DNA helix is approximately 20 Angstroms in diameter, a carbon atom is around two Angstroms. The width of an average strand of human hair ranges from 500,000 to one million Angstroms.
The unprecedented performance recorded in these two imaging modes has been achieved on a single instrument developed by FEI Company -- using Titan(TM) S/TEM technology -- equipped with two CEOS-designed spherical aberration correctors, dramatically improving the microscope's imaging and other abilities. The special TEAM microscope is the result of a series of new technology breakthroughs, providing for higher stability than previously possible and incorporating the newly designed aberration correctors. TEM images obtained show an information transfer down to 0.5 Angstrom. In STEM mode, frequencies better than 0.5 Angstrom were recorded.
This microscope will be delivered to the Berkeley National Laboratory in 2008 and will be fully operational in 2010. It will cost several million dollars for each one. The unit is the size of a large refridgerator.
Hat tip to Roland Piquepaille